George’s relative, Sonia attends one of our groups*.
As the main carer, you have to start to live and organise a 2nd life alongside your own.
I’m always asking, ‘are you well?’, ‘are you too hot, too cold?’ I might then have to take a coat off, take boots off, how do I do that? I come across boredom, resistance. I try and explain, I reason, and then I repeat, and I repeat, and I repeat.
This might not be one of the much older people at Community Works’ older people’s groups, it might be your parents. It might be your son, your daughter, your brother, your sister.
This all takes place before Doctors, Dentists, Social Workers, or any form of expert has got involved. Everyone has to be spoken to – Hairdressers, Banks,
and permission has to be obtained. You have to run two lives! But you have become the expert on this person, everyone asks you the questions. Then they tell you you’re doing a great job.
Then they ask how you are. –That’s not an easy one. You ask for help. This usually comes as more homework and reading material. No one seems to have the answers. The work of your Older People’s Services team has been invaluable for my relative. This is her favourite day out. Never a complaint, never a bad word. This cannot be duplicated by family. Your team have become her friends and part of her routine. More than this though, the feedback gives a valuable 2nd insight and assessment of progress
the family cannot see. Also, the input and help, both practical help and in terms of advice has been, and continues to be invaluable in finding a way forward for the future.
*These are not our friends’ real names, but we have been given permission to share this story.